Dianthus Barbatus – Sweet William – How To Grow

Sweet Williams are lovely plants.  They have pretty fringed flowers and bloom for me most of the spring and summer and come back each year in they are a perennialDianthus Barbatus is a lovely variety of the species but is a little harder to grow.

How to grow Sweet William - Dianthus. This plant makes nice mounds of bright color all summer long. Some are annuals and some are quite hardy. thegardneingcook.com

Planting guide for Dianthus Barbatus

Dianthus Barbatus – also know as Sweet William is a tender perennial.  It is often treated as a Biennial with leaves the first year and flowers the second before dying off.  My Dianthus Barbatus has flowered for two years here in NC.

To grow Dianthus Barbatus, follow these tips:

  • Size is 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide
  • Zones 3 to 9
  • Full to partial sun
  • Even moisture
  • Moderate grower.  Low maintenance.
  • The flowers are edible with a mild flavor.  Used as a garnish.
  • Propagation is by seed, cuttings, or division, but seeds of cultivars will not breed true.
  • If it is planted from seed after the last frost, it will flower in the second year. If it is planted in flats before the last frost and then transplanted it may flower in the first year.

The leaves of this variety of Dianthus are fragrant and the plant attracts butterflies and bees.  This lovely variety is one that I got from the farmer’s market. It has a huge 3 inch flower head instead of the normal smaller variety often seen.

Dianthus barbatus Sweet WilliamHere are some more photos of Dianthus with the smaller head size. They give a wonderful idea of the variety of colors available.   Growing conditions are similar to directions above, except for the size, of course.

The following Photos are courtesy of American Meadows. Dianthus Grenadine MixDianthus Grenadin Mix.  Clove scented, blooms all summer.  Great for cutting.Dianthus Purple PicoteeDianthus Purple Picotee. Sweet fragrance all summer long. Nice in containers.Dianthus Starburst Dianthus Starburst. Short foliage. Perfect for a border or container.Dianthus Indian CarpetDianthus Indian Carpet

Dianthus RedDianthus Red – 8 inches tall, blooms all summer.

How To Grow Sweet William - Dianthus BarbadusFor more gardening ideas please visit The Gardening Cook on Facebook.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

  4 comments for “Dianthus Barbatus – Sweet William – How To Grow

  1. Henry Birdwell
    07/10/2015 at 1:45 pm

    Would like to purchase some of these

    • admin
      07/10/2015 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Henry. There is a link above the third photo to my Affiliate American Meadows. If you click the link and then search for Dianthus, it will show what they have in stock now. I’ve also seen them at my local farmer’s market and also at Lowe’s and Home Depot in the spring.

  2. JK
    08/14/2017 at 1:12 pm

    I bought a SW in spring of 2016 and planted it – neglected it, but for watering, and repotted the whole thing in spring 2017. However, it put out these “buds” that only had a little thred-like stamine but no flower. The thing hasn’t put out a real blossom that I would call “sweet” flowers. Is this normal?
    JK Sommers

    • Carol
      08/14/2017 at 10:35 pm

      HI JK. I have not had this experience with Sweet Williams. Mine just die back in the fall, but flower again every spring and summer. Carol

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